Unfortunately for Josh Donaldson and the Blue Jays, 2018 could not have gone a whole lot worse for the star 3rd baseman. As disappointing a season its been for the 3-time all-star, when it’s all said and done, Donaldson will be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever wear a Blue Jays uniform.
Even with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, it wasn’t until Donaldson arrived on the scene in 2015 that the Blue Jays were transformed into the most potent offense in all of baseball. Donaldson was the single biggest contributor to the Blue Jays finally returning to the post-season for the first time since 1993. Much like Roberto Alomar, who was only with Toronto for five seasons, Donaldson was able to have a considerable impact during his relatively brief 4-years with the Blue Jays.
He played the game the right way…all out, leaving nothing on the field. In his first year in Toronto, it could be argued that Donaldson had almost as many highlight reel plays as Kevin Pillar. Donaldson was diving into the stands to catch pop-flies and making plays that Blue Jay fans had never seen before from a 3rd basemen.
His 2015 alone will go down as one of the greatest single-season performances in franchise history. Not only did he win the MVP that year, he also led the league in runs (122), RBI (123), and total bases (352). Despite only playing four years in Toronto, he still accumulated a WAR of 21.4, which ranks 11th all-time for Blue Jays position players. Additionally, he had the 1st (8.5 in 2015) and 4th (7.6 in 2016) highest single-season WARs for a position player in Blue Jays history.
It’s unfortunate Donaldson’s stay in Toronto couldn’t have ended in a more fitting way for a player as talented as he is. Much like Bautista’s final year with the Blue Jays didn’t end on a great note, it still didn’t take away from all the amazing things he was able to accomplish in Toronto. Nor should Donaldson’s difficult 2018 take away from the incredible baseball he provided this fan base.